Five PM. Thursday. St. Kerr Street.
Julien swilled and tilted his mug to his maw. Thinking admits the buzz of O’Bean’s Cafe, on their longest working day. His thoughts going over a moral dilemma, a crisis of his age at passing the first quarter of his life and already mid route to his thirties. The dilemma of course being whether to shave his ancient sage of a muzzle. His ratty whiskers growing more untamed, as his facial fuzz grow course beneath his lips.
Unable to focus on much. His ears perked and glassy eyes turning to feign interest in his to companions. The Aberdork writing group. “NaNo is in two months.” Grumbled Ernan Quinn, a Clydesdale stallion, decked in a sharp Hugo boss coat and purple Irlen glasses (they didn’t help his eye sight, but he thought they helped him look ‘postmodern’.)
“It’s three, actually.” Sighed Cliff, the tired short hair fox stifling a yawn. Who’s name is prounced CIF, as in chronically insomniac fox. One too many night shifts and the writing group was his way if reclaiming lost time. As the mutual, overarching ethos of the group it was the only thing either of the three did in their spare time, as per a boy’s club. Four sixths of the cups on the table were due to cliff’s consumption. “How about we write a trilogy, one book each, I’ll start, CIF gets the middle, and we know jules here loves a good climax.”
Julien stopped stroking his rough chin “we don’t even know what the characters we’ll have or how they’d develop earlier in the series … But we can build a shared setting.”
“Excellent, any one up for a science fiction space opera?” Cliff barked more excited as the gallons of caffeine powered his semi-dead body to life once more. Jittery, with Julien noticing a growing eye twitch.
“Talk amongst yourselves, gents, I need to place an order.”
The rat strolled between the neatly ordered tables, catching snippets of conversations; possible love affairs, neighbourly gossip, organising frat parties and two bad dates. One ending low-key and the other by he’ll snag for a story. One that’ll never be suitable for children.
“Could I get a mushroom and pesto panini.” Flashing a grin, with slick of his lips at Cassandra O’Bean. The store was run by twins, grey-neck kangaroos. Both were green aprons with the store’s logo emblazed upon them, a ‘O’ split down the middle like the seam of a coffee bean. Art nouvea ornation, akin to the physical store.
“Only if you don’t choke and die like last time, if I knew you were that fragile I’d only let you order from the kid’s menu.” Cassandra was the bitter to the sweet and sour O’Bean duo. “To be fair I only passed out for two minutes … ”
“And with the guy’s I’ve seen you ‘bite’ I’m surprised it was a panini that nearly did you in.” Slitting the snacks plastic wrapper and placing it under the grill.
Julien gave a blank gaze, turning into a smirk as a quick recovery. An unexpected jab at his sexuality, Cassandra really was giving a “low blow”‘ Julien squeaked “Any lower and you’d be under the table with a mouthful.”
“That your professional opinion? We both know writing doesn’t pay that well for gourmet paninis.”
“Which is why I’m here getting the sloppy seconds of a supermarket discount bin.” Cassandra tearing into a laugh, placing a hand on the counter for support. Nodding up with a glint in her eye. “It’ll be five minutes.”
“I’ve heard that before.”
Julien turning to rejoin the group, his eye catching the hooded avian at the back wall. Idly turning the cup in it’s saucer, a lonely creature pulling the rat’s heart. In a moment of unease he made his way towards here, .. Could be a good story.